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A Netflix documentary is being credited with helping to get Essure, a form of birth contro l many people say has caused them serious harm, pulled from the United States market — even though the documentary hasn’t actually been released yet.
The film, The Bleeding Edge, documents the forces that control the medical industry and the patients and advocates fighting for safer medications and devices. It comes from the directing and producing team behind The Hunting Ground and The Invisible War, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering.
Bayer, the device’s distributor, said in a statement on Friday that Essure will no longer be available in the United States after December 31, and that pulling the device was a “business decision” based on declining sales.
The birth control device, Essure, is a small metal coil that gets inserted into the fallopian tubes, causing sperm-blocking scar tissue to form, and marketed as the only non-surgical permanent infertilization device. The United States is the only place the device is still sold, according to the Washington Post.
Many people who have used Essure have claimed to experience devastating side effects, such as perforated uteruses and fallopian tubes. Several deaths have also been attributed to the device, according to the New York Times.
Essure’s many potential damages are outlined in the trailer for T he Bleeding Edge — in it, a woman who used the device, Angie Firmalino, tells a nurse, "I had a medical device that broke, that set off a connective tissue disorder, that started deteriorating my joints."
To this the nurse responds, “Holy crap!”
According to Vulture, Dick and Ziering voiced their approval for Bayer’s decision through a statement issued via Netflix.
“This is exactly why we do this work,” Dick said. “This film has already changed policies and changed history.”
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